If you happened to catch our wellness makeover announcement earlier this month, then you already know we’re excited to approach 2016 with an overall focus on health and well-being. Taking a deeper look at our current content, we felt there was an important piece of overall wellness that was lacking: that of dating, love, and romantic relationships.
So with this first story we happily introduce our newest series “It Couple”, where we’ll be discovering real life love stories (and even dating advice!) from inspiring couples around the world. Our first pair is one with an unbelievable meet cute, and a palpable sense of romance still three years into their marriage. Liv Toepfer is an event planner at Liv by Design, owner of The Good Life Furniture Collection as well as a yoga teacher. Her husband, Reynold, is a commercial real estate broker and Survivor alumn. Liv and Reynold aren’t afraid of much: they moved across the country sight unseen to be together, took their one year old baby on a trip to Bali and Japan, meditate, and make annual inspiration boards together. After just one afternoon with Liv and Reynold, I was inspired by what two people with completely open hearts can accomplish together as a team. Our hearts are a flutter.
photographed by jessica attie
We’ve heard you two have quite the story of how you first met… Tell us your “meet cute”!
Reynold: It was “love at first fight.” And to be honest, probably our only fight in all the time we’ve been together. Liv was in Vegas for her sister’s bachelorette party, and I was on a boys trip. Our two groups were seated next to each other at Nobu, Liv and I at opposite ends. Overhearing an insulting joke I made, Liv called me out in front of everyone sparking a fight that ultimately got both groups asked to leave the restaurant. We reconnected shortly after, apologized, felt that love at first sight feeling and spent the rest of night inseparable.
That is absolutely incredible. So what was your first impression of each other?
Liv: He was in trouble, hence the reason we got kicked out of Nobu. But soon thereafter, when I had a better view of him, my second impression was more of a heart stopping, breathtaking feeling. We instantly connected on a level I had never experienced before.
Reynold: She was so assertive, confident and cool. And absolutely the most fun I’d ever had. And, there was something about her face, I just really loved her face. I knew right away it was a face I would love to see all day every day. But what was most interesting to me was how comfortable we were together, right away. It really felt like our souls had lived a thousand life times together prior, and had finally reconnected in this place.
So how long have you been together?
Reynold: Met in Vegas in 2011. Two visits in San Francisco for a total of about two weeks. Moved to Texas sight unseen. Back to Vegas for wedding on 12/12/12. So, known each other for 5 years, dated for 2 weeks, engaged for 5 months, married for 3 years.
Olivia, when did you know Reynold was “the one”?
Immediately after the “second impression” – it was likely initially due to his extremely good looks, his charm, how much fun he was and how well we connected, but after some time had passed and the distance between Austin and San Francisco created a wedge between us, my heart began to ache and I thought about him constantly. It was the most patient I had ever had to be, but I knew deep in my heart that it would all work out. I didn’t know how or when but I just knew it would be when the time was right. We reconnected about 8 months later and instantly we both knew this was it, he was my one, my soul mate and someone I knew I never wanted to be without again.
What’s the best relationship advice you’ve ever been given?
Reynold: My father told me that the source of every conflict in a relationship is an error in communication. You need to really understand and work on how you communicate, and understand the same from your partner. The more you open the pathway to be completely forthcoming with how you honestly feel, and open your mind to understand what your partners is communicating, the more you will stay in the good place where you are connected and working together. My father has been married to my mother for 48 years.
Olivia: To be a good listener, to always put the other person first and to honorand support them lovingly every day, cherishing every moment like it was your last. To never take a single day together for granted.
What’s the one thing the two of you disagree about most often?
Reynold: We really don’t argue. That doesn’t mean that we don’t make mistakes, we make mistakes all the time. But it is usually the two of us making that mistake together – whether we spend irresponsibly or slack off on discipline with the kids. But we usually recognize it together and fix it together. It is not one saying that the other did this or that, it’s more like we messed up and what should we do to get things back on track.
What’s your favorite to show to watch together?
I didn’t think we were big TV watchers until I had to think about this question… and I realized there are so many shows we enjoy watching together – Survivor, The Voice, Game of Thrones and True Detective.
How do you two keep the romance alive in your relationship?
Reynold: We have two kids now, and with that comes plenty of distraction to romance. But, we both give each other tender moments frequently every day among the chaos. I feel like there’s romance to how we do everything for each other, even something as basic as putting a little extra love into the cup of coffee you make for your partner. It’s kind of just organic I guess, we really love each other so much so it just happens.
Liv: We greet each other every morning in the kitchen and every day when we get home with a big, loving hug and kiss… like it was the first time you knew you loved each other. That kind of sweetness and simple affection carries with me throughout the day and keeps the relationship feeling sweet and romantic no matter what kind of busy or chaotic schedule we have.
Six items that represent key moments in your relationship:
- A burned CD Olivia made for Reynold during their one and only “break”
- The couple’s rings from their 2012 wedding
- A leather bracelet engraved with the wedding date
- Tasseled bracelets from a recent meditation class
- A wooden Buddha from the couple’s home
- The shirt Reynold was wearing when they first met
What’s your favorite way to unwind together on the weekends?
Our weekends are pretty busy juggling two kiddos, so we mostly like to find things to do outdoors. The kids love swimming in our little lap pool at home, which we call our “oasis.” We also enjoy yoga, riding bikes, cooking, hiking, reading during “Golden Hour” (when the baby is napping), taking the kids to experience fun things in Austin, hanging out with friends and family and we both love sneaking off for sans kids date night to a yummy dinner at one of Austin’s fabulous restaurants or catching a new movie. On Sundays, we like to close out our weekend with hot, sweaty yoga at our favorite studio (Flaming Lotus Yoga) with our yogi community. Besides a killer workout, it’s a great way to reset your intentions for the week to be able to charge ahead from a place of love and gratitude.
How do you two approach goals together?
We love setting and conquering goals left and right! We do believe in writing goals down and creating a plan of action to make them real but what we have really discovered to work is vision boarding! We have made it an annual tradition the past three years to create a vision board on New Years Eve. We clip inspiring words and pictures out of magazines, glue them to a poster board and keep it in view throughout the year. We have truly seen so many of these visions/dreams come true and can feel the essence of the board in our real lives. Every time you look at the board, it brings your focus directly back to your goals and the vibe that you created. Setting your intentions and creating the boards from a place of true inspiration sends positive energy into the universe and we think it works…plus it’s something fun to do together and to look back on the next year to see what dreams happened over the year!
Details from Olivia’s 2016 board.
When it came to combining your furniture and decor, do the two of you have a similar aesthetic? Or is it more of a yen/yang balance?
Liv is a designer, and I really respect her abilities in that area. However, we’re really on the same page with furniture and decor. We picked out our first home purchase totally on the same page, we choose the same art, so we definitely have the same aesthetic. In his toast at our wedding, my brother said opposites attract, but in this case, these two are exactly the same person so we will see how that works out.
What’s the hardest thing about being married (or in a long term relationship)?
Reynold: I really love being married, there’s so much laughter when you spend so much time together and know everything about each other. The only challenge is carving out time for friends. When we get the rare opportunity of free time, we like to spend it together. And I do feel bad sometimes that I don’t invest the time and effort into friends like I used to.
Liv: Our marriage doesn’t really feel “hard” to me, but the only thing we find to be a bit of a challenge (especially having two kids) is finding the time to balance “me time,” whether that is for exercise, spending time with friends, reading or just have space to be alone. We enjoy being with each other and prefer time together when we have down time, but also know that it is important to have “me time” as well and so we work hard to support each other and offer space as needed to keep things in balance.
What do you admire about your significant other?
Reynold: I admire her passion for life. She really lives, she goes after what she wants, and has this amazing positive energy that manifests great things. I feel invincible just jumping on her wave, it is exhilarating. She has started successful companies, she seeks enlightenment and peace through yoga, she is just always living to the fullest. It makes me a better person just by association.
Liv: I admire his ability to teach – he is so calm, patient and knowlegable when teaching our children something. He is super intelligent and knows a little bit (or a lot) about everything… I love that about him! I have definitely assigned him to homework duty for both kids for the next 18 years! He is also an adventurous spirit and is always willing to try new experiences or travel to new places. I always feel so lucky to be the wife with the husband who will try anything new for fun. I know not every wife can get their husband to try meditation and chanting classes with them (unless they are just into that sort of thing already). It keeps life interesting and it’s fun to have a partner to explore new things with.
For single friends still looking for the one, what advice (if any) would you give on dating in the modern world?
Liv: Take your time to wait for “the one.” Don’t settle, but don’t search. You won’t find them if you’re looking, they will just suddenly knock you upside the head when you least expect it and you’ll just know in your truest heart that you are meant for each other. It is so worth the wait!
Reynold: I think the more you say “yes” to taking chances and “yes” to trying new things the more you open yourself to completely unforeseen awesome things, love being one of those. Love yourself, travel, just enjoy your life to the fullest and it will all happen when it happens.